The Car Seat.
The Car Seat:
We review the car seat of all new patients who drive. Many of us spend over an hour a day driving. The body position can cause fatigue. Ideal position involves considering the seat back and pad tilt, steering wheel height, reach to pedal, chest-wheel distance etc. Let us explain…
Your Seat Back should be upright. Why? The first pic shows me with a reclined seat. If I keep my spine resting on the seat back, my eyes are looking through the roof.
The second pic shows me now looking out the windscreen. I am hunched forward above the bra strap level, and my shoulders are not in contact with the seat, so not supported. This is common, tiring and makes for hunched posture..
Often people tilt seats back to get the head restraint out of the way. Under the Australian Standard, head restraints must come to a line called Torso Line, a vertical line from T10. (pic coming.) While this is probably ideal for minimizing whiplash, it means they pry the head forward. The problem is worse still if your hair is in a pony tail for work! (I have emailed the Australian Standards Organization asking about the reason for the position. I got no reply.)
There needs to be 30cm between your chest and the steering wheel airbag.
The top of the steering wheel should be below shoulder height, so you don’t need to lift your shoulders. Even us shorties can usually see the instruments. The steering wheel height adjustment is usually under the steering column.
The safe driving people want your wrists dropping over the wheel with arms outstretched. This gives you good control of the wheel all through driving movement.
Chiropractors want your seat far enough forward that you can brake fully without twisting your pelvis on the seat. We also want your heel resting on the floor as you brake, so you are not supporting the weight of the leg at every red light.
In some vehicles you can adjust seat height from the floor of the vehicle. We prefer you to sit high from the floor of the vehicle, more kitchen chair than beanbag position. The more slumped you are in the car seat, the more load through the back wall of your lumbar discs. We want you sitting more like a truck/4wd seat than seat sports car bucket seat. It is much easier for a dodgy hip to get out of a car if you are sitting higher. Tall ones may have to sit low enough to get a decent sight line down the road.